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Holiday Survival Guide: Eating Healthy Amid The Festivities

Jan 18, 2008
As exciting as the holiday season is, there are many factors that can cause stress for those hoping to lose weight or maintain healthy eating habits. As a LAP-BAND patient, you need to practice the same healthy eating during the holiday season that you've included in your daily routine. However, you don't need to deprive yourself during this special time of year. Instead, you should make a focused plan and take steps to avoid dangerous overeating during the festivities. Here is a handy survival guide to help you navigate the holidays in a healthy way and stay on track with your weight loss goals.

Eat healthy before the party begins

As many holiday events include large amounts of food, you should prepare yourself to be amongst a buffet atmosphere before leaving home. If you know the party or gathering you will be attending will feature plenty of unhealthy food, try to eat a healthy meal beforehand to help curb your appetite. Most importantly, don't starve yourself in anticipation of holiday meals. Filling up on holiday treats can not only distract you from your weight loss goals, but leave behind some serious discomfort.

Control your portions

At parties and family gatherings, food is often present in buffet form. Hence, during such events, you should try to use a smaller plate and allow yourself only a single trip to the food table. Regardless of what is being served, try to eat as you would at home and remain committed to your personal portion sizes.

It's also good to eat as slowly as possible so that your body registers the food and the subsequent satisfaction that comes with it. Some people ever recall a time they overate and felt poorly afterwards in an attempt to curb the temptation to eat beyond what you need.

Find healthy recipes

If you will be cooking for yourself or others, try to locate some healthy recipes for your favorite holiday dishes. Try to avoid cooking with fatty products such as butter and heavy cream. If you have a favorite recipe that incorporates meat or vegetables fried in oil, consider baking the dish or altering the recipe to incorporate fresh ingredients. If you are still having trouble uncovering alternative recipes, consult the support staff at your outpatient bariatric center for healthy suggestions.

Be careful with alcohol

As many of the holiday season's favorite alcoholic drinks are loaded with empty calories, try to keep alcohol consumption to a minimum. If you want to enjoy an alcoholic drink, sip on a single glass of red wine. During parties, you should also try to drink plenty of water. If you want to fit in with those around you, drink your water in a cocktail glass, garnish it like your favorite libation and savor your little secret.

Spend your time with family and friends - not food

One activity to avoid during the holiday season is socializing near a buffet table or any type of communal food. When talking with friends and family in front of such culinary displays, it is often second nature to snack while you socialize. Instead, after you have had your modest fill, spend your time away from the food and focus on having a good time with your loved ones. Above all, try to remember that the holidays are a time to spend with family and while food is often part of the celebration, it shouldn't be the focal point.

Enjoy your favorite holiday treats - in moderation

Though the guidelines mentioned here might seem stringent, you should still try to experience your favorite treats during the holiday season. Just because LAP-BAND patients are required to practice moderation everyday, it doesn't mean that particular foods need to be avoided altogether. It is OK to have a few bites of pumpkin pie or cheesecake, or even enjoy a small serving of eggnog. However, to prevent yourself from overdoing it, you should try to use small cups and plates or simply share your treats with friends. Remember that the first few bites really do taste the best, so let all those extra calories head towards your friend's thighs not yours.

As you try to balance your healthy lifestyle with the excess of the holidays, try to be assertive and maintain your eating habits as best you can. Remember that you don't need to accept every treat that is offered to you; if you politely decline large servings of troublesome foods, your family and friends will be understanding and supportive. Consider your healthy lifestyle and the long term opportunities offered by the LAP-BAND to be a gift to yourself and ring in the New Year - healthy and happy.
About the Author
Carole S. Guinane, a Chief Clinical Officer writes articles about obesity and weight loss for New Hope Today.
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